Getting the most from an Au Pair

I’ve been discussing this topic with my daughter a lot
over the past year, and was happy when I discovered
the article below. It offers some great insight as to
your responsibilities when considering bringing an Au Pair
into your family.

Getting the most from an Au Pair
Copyright (c) 2010 Jamie Lyons

If you’re one of the thousands of households who have
embraced the benefits of taking on an Au Pair, then you
will more than likely be fully aware of the extent to which
the extra pair of hands can lighten the load of day to day
tasks. In addition to this you will no doubt have also
experienced the positives an Au Pair brings socially and
culturally. Making an Au Pair welcome and ensuring the most
mutually advantageous environment for all involved, does
however involve a little work. To help you along, we’ve
compiled the following tips and advice:

Communication and Respect

Communication and mutual respect are both crucial from the
outset when incorporating an Au Pair into the family. In
the first few weeks especially it is vital that you invest
plenty of time in helping your Au Pair to adjust to a new
culture and the differences in language. Actively exercise
patience and be sure to communicate clearly and with simple
language if necessary. They are not on holiday but nor are
they your servant. It is prudent to bear in mind that
cultural differences will make things a little strange for
both of you at first.

If your Au Pair is experiencing difficulty in understanding
verbal communication then it can be a good idea to write
things down and advise they use a bi-lingual dictionary to
translate it. Another surprisingly effective tool to help
them to gain a firm grasp of English is television, not
just in the form of language tutorial DVDs but also general
programming, as such, installing a television in their
bedroom is a great way to speed up the learning process.

Social Inclusion

To help your Au Pair build confidence and generally boost
their enjoyment of their experience in the country, look to
introduce them to other Au Pairs in the area and also
assist them in registering with a local college. At college
they will not only further build upon language skills, but
also develop a social network outside of the house. As
previously stated, they are not in the country purely to
service your needs but also for their own enjoyment and
development.

An Au Pair’s free time must be their own. By all means
invite them to join in with family activities, but do not
restrict them from using this leisure time in the manner of
their choosing, whether that be going out or staying in
their room. An Au Pair is also fully aware that you and
your partner are likely to want some quality time alone and
will be sure to adhere to that.

Driving

If you need your Au Pair to be able to drive it is your
responsibility to arrange and pay for their car insurance,
equally the onus is on you to ensure that their driving
licence is acceptable for driving in the UK. An Au Pair’s
driving ability is likely to be unknown until they have
been placed with you, as such it is good practice to
arrange for a 2 hour driving lesson such that a qualified
instructor can assess their driving ability and road
safety, This is particularly paramount if they are expected
to drive children, remember that this is your
responsibility.

These pointers are only a small selection of the factors to
consider when welcoming an Au Pair, but provide a solid
foundation and help to ensure that both your family and
your Au Pair get the maximum benefit and enjoyment from
their placement.

—————————————————-
Written by Jamie Lyons on behalf of
http://www.aupairsdirect.co.uk – the UK’s premier Au Pair
Agency.

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